A Week of Valor
Louisville Veterans Day parade
to be special this year
Event will honor area’s World War II veterans
November 2015 Cover
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (November 2015) – Carlette Vance had planned to become a nurse before ever graduating from high school. What she didn’t count on was the world being turned upside down by war while she was still a young woman.
Vance served as a U.S. Army nurse during World War II (1939-1945). Before the war began, “I had planned to be a nurse. It’s all I thought about the last couple of years of high school,” said Vance, 93.
Growing up in New Jersey, she trained to become a nurse not far from home at the University of Pennsylvania from 1940-1943. That was right after high school graduation. In 1941, when “we got into the war, they pulled all the young men out,” she recalled.
With some valuable training behind her, she reported for duty in 1944. “I was overseas from July 1944 to July 1945,” she said.
A Week of Valor
in Louisville, Ky.
• Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m.: Carry the Fallen 22 Challenge Ruck March. A 22-hour, relay-style ruck march to remember the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide to be held at Cherokee Scenic Loop. The relay event will allow participants to walk any distance. Public is welcome. Featuring live music and vendors. Information: www.activeheroes.org.
The Week of Valor is supported by the Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville, an initiative launched last year by some young professionals in the Leadership Louisville Ignite program. For more information, call (502) 636-0771 or visit: www.vcalouisville.org.
• Saturday, Nov. 7, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.: Team Red, White & Blue hosts Workout of the Day-Armistice at Crossfit Covalence, 530 Barret Ave. Louisville’s Team Red, White & Blue community joins with 150 locations around the country to provide a functional tribute workout. Information: www.wodwithwarriors.com.
• Sunday, Nov. 8, (on-site registration beginning at noon): Run With Out Heroes 5K at the University of Louisville Campus (behind Ernst Hall and Speed School off Eastern Parkway.) This run/walk celebrates all branches of the military, veterans and their families. Proceeds to benefit the U of L Student Veterans Services Fund and veterans programs at Seven Counties Services. Register online at www.runwithourheroes.org.
• Monday, Nov. 9, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.: (Registration at 5:30 p.m.). Kentucky Veterans of the Year banquet. Brown & Williamson Club, 2800 S Floyd St. Event honors one male and one female Kentucky veteran for heroic efforts defending our country. Information: www.kentuckyveteransoftheyear.org.
• Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 8-9:30 a.m. Louisville Business First Salute to Veterans at Noah’s Event Venue, 12451 Plantside Dr. Breakfast will honor 23 veterans who have had an impact on the Louisville business community. Tickets at http://bizj.us/15a8fr.
• Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.: 2015 V.A. Welcome Home Event traveling exhibit at Robley Rex VA Medical Center, 800 Zorn Ave. “From War to Home Exhibit” explores realities of military service through words and images. Includes local veterans’ artwork. Information: www.louisville.va.gov.
• Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m.: Veterans Day parade and Massing of the Colors. Downtown Louisville, Main Street from Second Street to Sixth Street. The first unit will arrive at the reviewing stand on steps of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts at 11:11 a.m. Massing of the Colors will take place at the stand as soon as the last parade unit passes around noon. Information: www.louvetparade.com.
• Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Active Heroes Pound Challenge and Telethon, in partnership with WAVE-3 TV at The Factory Gym, 2510 Hurstbourne Gym Lane. Active Heroes and gym partners across America will try to lift a collective 22 million pounds to raise donations and awareness to end veteran suicide. WAVE-3 plans a supportive telethon. Information: www.activeheroes.org.
• Thursday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m.: Warrior's Heart and Harvest, 201 S. Peterson Ave. Athena Sisters sponsoring free spaghetti dinner as a tribute to service personnel. Child-friendly event with activities and games. Partners include Warrior's Heart & Harvest, Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky and Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Information: athenassisters.us.
• Saturday, Nov. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Veterans Complimentary Care Expo at Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Rd. Robley Rex VA Medical Center event intended to showcase programs and activities provided at the Rex facility. Event is free and open to the public. Information: www.louisville.va.gov.
Vance will join hundreds of World War II veterans during a weeklong celebration in Louisville, Ky., to honor them and culminating in the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11. Other parades and events are being planned in the region, including a parade and program in Madison, Ind., and a Veterans Day program in Oldham County, Ky.
Vance described her war-time service during a recent interview. She said the nurses worked in 12-hour shifts, tending to the wounded and paralyzed. “I was taught in training to never leave a patient in the same position for more than two hours.” But hands-on experience taught her that after 30 minutes, “you had to start turning them.”
Vance, who now lives in Owen County, Ky, said that, “By morning, you were worn out and not working too well.” Her father had fought in World War I.
Replacements were badly needed in her field and elsewhere during her time of service. “They were begging for replacements in different parts of the military,” she said.
Vance was sent to England as a replacement in July 1944. Her group of nurses was placed in a European Theater of Operations Blood Bank, working in a lab. It was during World War II that blood transfusions became more widely and safely available.
She recalls always being on the move. “I was shipped out to the south of England to a small hospital off of the docks.” Wounded soldiers were brought in from across the English Channel, she said.
Her ward was equipped with a basin, wash cloths and towels. They were expected to clean up and feed the soldiers. It wasn’t long before “we had to pack up and leave again. Then we crossed the Channel into France.”
The nurses traveled in the back of an Army truck until reaching the outskirts of Paris, France. “We needed to set up a new hospital once we got the Germans out,” she said. They set up a hospital at the Paris Orphanage.
Looking outside one morning, the nurses realized ambulances were lined up bumper to bumper. She was then stationed at the First General Hospital. “We were put to work in different wards. Then in two to three days we got new orders.” Vance worked there until the end of the war. It is also where she met her future husband, George Davis Vance.
“The day the war ended, you could hear church bells ringing all over,” she said. “But I still had patients to work with.” She distinctly remembers “a new young fella bawling, ‘I’m not hurting.’ ”
Veterans Day Facts
• Nov. 11, 1918: The armistice ending World War I begins at 11 a.m.
– Information taken from www.History.com.
• 1919: President Woodrow Wilson proclaims Nov. 11 as Armistice Day.
• Nov. 11, 1921: The first Unknown Soldier is reburied at Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb has the words inscribed, “Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.”
• May 13, 1938: Armistice Day becomes a federal holiday.
• June 1, 1954: President Dwight Eisenhower signs a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to include all U.S. veterans.
• There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States.
• 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), representing 33 percent of all living veterans.
• 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
• 2.6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
• 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
• 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
• The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930. Since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled veterans.
• Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near Nov. 11. Canada has Remembrance Day, Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries, it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every Nov. 11.
Soldiers had been given the command that when the war was over, they were not to shoot another thing, but also not to lose their position. The Germans had different orders. They kept firing. “The fella lost an arm and his best buddy who was beside him,” said Vance.
Her experiences and others like them are the focus of many in the community who do not want to forget veterans and what they mean to America. Since 2011, Dell Courtney of Prospect, Ky., has been part of a four-person committee that organizes the Louisville Veterans Day Parade.
The committee includes co-chairs Treva Brockman of Dazzle Consulting, Wayne Hettinger of Visual Presentations Inc., and Dell and Fred Courtney of VisionWorks, LLC.
The committee’s goal, she said, was to commemorate the fact that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice between Germany and the Allied Nations came into effect that ended fighting on the western front during World War I. Armistice Day was celebrated for the first time on Nov. 11, 1919. Later, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.
The 2015 Veterans Day Parade in Louisville is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. A review stand will be erected on the front steps of the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts on Main Street. From 10:30-11 a.m., the Ladies for Liberty singing group and other musical acts will provide entertainment.
“The program is structured so that the first unit will leave at 11 a.m. and arrive at 11:11 a.m. at the review stand,” said Courtney. “The cease fire took place at 11 a.m.”
Carlette Vance is pictured during her tenure as a World War II nurse in Europe in the early 1940s.
The parade honors veterans from all wars, but highlighted Vietnam vets last year. This year the emphasis will be “on World War II veterans from each of the five branches,” Courtney said. The grand marshals will comprise a male and a female World War II veteran from each branch of the U.S. Armed Services.
Glenn Fisher of Bedford, Ky., and Herman Stanley of Henry County are among those chosen to serve as grand marshals. Both men were featured in recent editions of RoundAbout.
The only branch in which organizers have not found a living veteran is in the female Coast Guard, known as SPARS. Courtney said she hopes to locate one before the parade.
The parade itself is made up of “all veterans or veteran related organizations,” she said. Visitors will see antique restored military vehicles, modern vehicles and representatives of the VFW, American Legion, ROTC and ROTC Jr., among others. Approximately 85 units and 1,300 individual participants will make up the procession, she said. Close to 1,500 school children will line the parade route, holding American flags and forming a Corridor of Flags.
A Massing of the Colors ceremony will immediately follow the parade. This is a patriotic ceremony held to rededicate faith in the United States and to present support to the National Colors and the servicemen and servicewomen that those colors represent. The Society of the Massing of the Colors first held a patriotic ceremony on Armistice Day in 1922.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Hettinger
This image was captured during last year’s Veterans Parade in downtown Louisville, Ky.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has announced that a “Week of Valor” will lead up to the parade. Festivities include a banquet, a re-dedication of the Vietnam War memorial, 5K run/walk and community-service projects. In a press release, Fischer said, “It’s our
goal to make Louisville the most supportive and responsive community in the nation for veterans.” More than 56,000 veterans live in Metro Louisville, with the number expected to increase by another 20,000 by 2020.
Meantime, the Oldham County American Legion Post 39 will play host to its annual Veterans Day Program at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the John Black Community Center in Buckner, Ky. This event “is a very important opportunity for the community to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military members and their families make in support of our shared values,” said Stephen C. Davis, Service Officer for Post 39.
The keynote speaker for this program will be Capt. Gerald Nauert, U.S. Coast Guard. Nauert joined the Coast Guard Reserve in 1989 and is currently on active duty with the Department of Homeland Security in San Antonio, Texas. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he served at the Kuwait Naval Base as commander of a Post Security Unit.
Nauert has won numerous military awards, including three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, three Humanitarian Service Medals, two Defense Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals and various unit and team awards. He is retired from the Kentucky State Police after more than 24 years of service.
Photo by Patti Watson
World War II veteran Donn Lorton of Madison will serve as grand marshal in the Madison Veterans Day Parade.
The City of Madison, Ind., meanwhile, will have its own Veterans Day Parade on Tuesday, Nov. 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m. “This will be the first time for the parade,” said Narci Burress, Senior Center director for the City of Madison.
• For more information on the Louisville Veterans Day Parade, visit www.louvetparade.com or contact Dell Courtney at (502) 228-5237. For more information on the Madison Veterans Day Parade, contact Narci Burress at (812) 265-4758.
The City and the Madison Parks Department are sponsoring this parade, which they hope will become an annual event. “A lot of people want to be in the parade,” said Burress. Nursing facilities have wanted to participate as well by letting their veteran patients ride in it. The Madison Trolley has offered its services for the veterans, so they can ride in a heated vehicle.
The idea for a Veterans Parade came about after Burress had visited some nursing home facilities and talked to veterans. The reason for her visits was to talk with them about getting their high school diploma because many had quit school at a young age to go into service. If they were honorably discharged, they can get a legitimate diploma, said Burress.
In speaking with the veterans, the topic came up about how Madison has parades for the Regatta and Christmas, so why not for veterans? Burress liked the idea and talked to City Hall officials and Mayor Damon Welch, who agreed it would be a good idea.
The route will be a little different from previous parades in Madison, she said. “It will go along the Ohio River on Vaughn Drive, so veterans can sit in their cars and watch it if they need to.” The route will begin on Jefferson Street, travel down Vaughn Drive, then end on Broadway.
Following the parade, attendees are invited to a light dinner and the Annual Veterans Program at 6:45 p.m. at the Brown Gym on Broadway. The program will consist of a variety of entertainment that will include singers, dancers, the Madison Community Band and soloists highlighting the different war eras.
Also during the program, Burress said Christmas cards will be collected for the American Red Cross to send to U.S. soldiers in hospitals and those serving in active duty. For the last three years, the Salvation Army and the Jefferson County Red Cross have partnered to put on this Veteran’s Day Program. The grand marshal for the Madison Veteran’s Parade will be veteran Donn Lorton.
Lorton graduated from high school on Jan. 19, 1944, and joined the U.S. Navy on Jan. 20. He was assigned to U.S.S. Prince William CVE 31 carrier, which made many voyages transporting troops and equipment during the war.
Lorton moved to Madison in November 1954 and began working at the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. He retired from IKEC in 1988 and started volunteering in Jefferson County, Ind. He was active in visiting the homebound was instrumental in helping starting the daily meal program with Salvation Army. He has been a member of No. 1 Fair Play Fire Co. for 18 years and worked for one month in New York for Mother Theresa’s Shelters. Among his recent accomplishments was helping with the Clearinghouse nonprofit agency in Madison. He has held many offices with the Knights of Columbus, including District Deputy.
“We want to acknowledge those still living and remember those we’ve lost,” Burress said.
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